The Writer’s Log

I’ve been working on a manuscript for some time.  I hate publicizing that – everyone and their dog is working on a manuscript.  Everyone is writer, right?  And what have I done?  I’ve got a website, where I upload text files and audio files with me reading.  I read my stories to my students and they eat them up, because I wrote them.  For a few months in 2007 I had a loud-mouthed column about Common Sense and how dumb society was.  Sure, I made a cool $100 for those columns, but am I writer?

I consider myself a writer.  I’m not professional, by any means.  I wouldn’t consider my blog posts professional at all.  In fact, they’re really just a long, public, ranting diary.  Whatevs.  You’re reading it, so it must be decently entertaining.  Right?  Even if I forced it on you via facebook?  Right?!

Back to the point.  I’ve been working on a manuscript for a while.  It has developed and grown and taken on a life of its own.  I started to write it while I was supply teaching in Kingston.  I had an idea for a story for youths, and thought I might take a stab at writing a novel.  When I ended up moving home to Cornwall due to the fact that I’d run out of cash, I forgot about it for a while.  Over the course of the summer in 2010, I picked it up and started to work on it again.  I’m fully aware that the chances of it being published are slim to none, but I am writing it anyway.

Why will it likely not be published, you ask?  For starters, I’m not even sure who my audience is yet.  I thought it was 12 year olds.  Then the content was a tad mature, so I thought maybe 15-18 year olds.  But then I realized that an 18 year old wouldn’t read it.  A school teacher might.  That’s me.  But it’s not an adult book.  So I’m back to the 12’s.  Maybe 13’s.  MAYBE 14’s.  I’ve done a bit of research and am going to label it, for now, a “middle age novel”.  Not young adult, and not “beginning or early novel”.  But “middle age”.  Actually – upper middle age.  Yes, that will do.

Another reason may be length.  As of now, it is not long enough to be published as a novel.  Maybe I will get it there.  If the story lets me.

Another reason is that “they” just don’t publish a lot of these books.  Especially mouthy, risquee ones from an unknwon nobody like yours truly.

So why am I writing it?  The answer is simple.  I love to write.  And I need to tell this story.  I need to prove to myself that I can write a lengthy text, with mature and risquee content, appropriately for a younger audience.  This is the novel I wish I had read when I was 12.

I picked up a copy of The Writer Magazine (www.WriterMag.com) on the weekend, and it has motivated me big time.  I was getting into a great groove of writing what with the Christmas Break, and I really wanted to keep it up.  I thought a professional magazine about something other than teaching might do the trick.  This one came with an extra pull out guide called “Get Organized, Get Writing.”  It is by professionals, and is full of articles about getting motivated, getting organized, and losing the excuses.  It makes so much sense.  Of course, the non-writers I’ve mentioned these ideas to (I don’t really know any other writers, or semi-writers as I suppose I am) think that it’s all crazy and silly.

My favourite quote is probably one from Anne Lamott.  She says, “I don’t really buy people’s explanations.  I mean, we all have them. I’m a single mother, I run a church school, I’m politcially very active, I go for a hike every day on the mountain, I’m always behind on my house, there’s always clean and unfolded laundry at best and dirty and unwashed laundry some of the time, and I’ll usually have lots of animals and I have lots of friiends and I’m kind of a missionary in the world in terms of my spirituality.  When am I supposed to write?  Well, I just do it.  But I do it as a debt of honour; I do it because I’m a writer, because I want to write, because I want to be part of the literary world.  If you want to write, you’re going to write.  What are you going to give up?  It’s amazing how much time people will spend on their butts, thighs and stomachs, and they don’t have time to write.  At 70 or 80, are you going to wish you had firmer thighs, or are you going to wish you have written your novel?”

The rest of the booklet follows this idea.  You either spend your life watching TV, or you do what it is you say you want to do.  You spend your life talking about writing, or you write.  Published or not.  One article claims that published writers are the ones who write every day for at least 3 hours.  Full time job, kids, marriage, animals, extracurriculars, or not.

And it suggests that to keep you motivated, you keep a writing journal.  I started mine tonight!  I logged how long I wrote for (does this count?!), what I did during the time, when I’ll write next and for how long, and what I’m going to work on (whether I work on that or not doesn’t matter, it’s just an aid to help me focus).  I can’t wait for Wednesday from 7-8, when I work on expanding and perfecting a transitional scene towards the end of my novel.  I am so excited and driven by this simple log that Gregory Martin has suggested (in his article called “A Way to hold off your Evasion Strategies”).

I’ve been working on a manuscript for some time.  What about you?

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